Intra-Abdominal Fat Raises Blood Pressure, Among Other Negative Consequences

Published Online: Saturday, March 1, 2003

Intra-abdominal fat is not easy to see because it is the fat that surrounds internal organs, but it can be a killer. It is associated with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and elevated cholesterol.

The good news is that regular cardiovascular exercise among postmeno-pausal women can significantly reduce intra-abdominal fat, even if body weight remains unchanged.

Published in the January 15, 2003, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study found that postmenopausal women who began an exercise program of brisk walking or cycling 5 days a week lowered their levels of intra-abdominal fat by about 6% and lost weight, regardless of body weight or age.

?Women should be relieved that when they increase their exercise levels, they are doing good things for their bodies and health, even if they don?t see much change on the scale,? said Dr. Anne McTiernan, lead author of the study.

The women, who exercised (on a treadmill or a stationary bicycle) more than 3 hours 15 minutes a week, lost about 7% of their intra-abdominal fat. Those who exercised less than 2 hours 15 minutes a week lost 3.4% of their intra-abdominal fat.

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